“Marrying then and now, that’s a ploy to be sensible, to recognize in my childhood-self the simplification and wishful thinking, to overlay some hard truth, and to acknowledge that I’m chained to this country by love.”
The “We” Behind the “I” in “Good Bones”—an essay by Kathleen Flenniken
Night was the length of two western states; / it took hours to pass.
Plume Kathleen Flenniken University of Washington Press, 2012 — In the Fall of 2013, Kathleen Flenniken was awarded the Washington State Book Award for Plume. — Where I live, in eastern Washington State, I frequently see evidence of the legacy of the Hanford nuclear site—in ads for homecare services designed for Hanford nuclear workers, on Richland High School’s “home of the bombers” mushroom cloud jerseys, and at the Tri-Cities airport’s “Three-Eyed Fish Café,” which alludes comically to deformed fish caught in the nearby Columbia River. A waste management company near Richland has applied to the federal government for a permit to truck up to 500 tons of Mexican radioactive waste over interstate highways for incineration at Hanford and transport back to Mexico. The reactor that John F. Kennedy dedicated in 1963 has been licensed to produce electricity through 2043. At the same time, Hanford receives massive federal funding as “the world’s largest environmental cleanup project.” In Plume, her second full-length poetry collection, Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken opens a view into Hanford’s complex history, …